[JPL] Revisiting Ray's art with a Basie-less band

OntheBeach at aol.com OntheBeach at aol.com
Fri Sep 29 12:44:52 EDT 2006


one cannot compare overdubbed recordings-where the parties are aware of the  
process and have agreed to the collaboration, or overdubbed themselves-with 
the  new breed of cut and paste wherein one (or more) of the [key] parties is no 
 longer with us and has no input. [with apologies to families, estate  
administrators, attorneys, managers, current and former band members, record  execs 
et al-you are not surrogates].
 
while the results are sometimes very nice, and occasionally horrific this  
represents a paradigm shift in the recording-and-art world.  while one  can 
argue there is merit in breaking down boundaries, it appears to represent  not 
just an extension of technology but the loss of respect and perspective  which 
certain works of art have earned both through their creation and the  passing of 
time.
 
pat metheny's now famous rant about kenny g's "duet" [sic] with louis  
armstrong referenced
"hallowed ground" and that recording travesty certainly represents the  
low-water mark, to date in this new approach to making records.  is there  
"hallowed ground" anymore?  the corporate labels will seemingly license  anything to 
create additional revenue. 
 
in the case of the ray charles/count basie, irrespective of how good the  
final "product" may sound, the bottom line is this: Ray had no say or input into  
this and neither did Count Basie [who doesn't even appear on this 
recording-oh  yeah he's passed on too].  will some consumers think both did and that  
Count Basie appears on this "historic" recording?  does this matter?
 
some feel the quality of the participants justifies the ends.  i do  not 
agree with this position.
as much as i respect and admire tony bennett, just because he is excellent  
doesn't give him the right to "duet" with billie holiday.
 
alas, today's technology allows any musician or artist to realize almost  any 
fantasy they can conjur up.  while we could have some laughs conjuring  up 
the most unlikely and creative collaborations across the history of jazz, (or  
any other pairing in music history) at some point the art is to be  respected.
 
numerous of the "remix" projects sound good, some sound great, very cool  
stuff--but again without the blessing and participation of the principal artist,  
what do they really represent?
[keep in mind one thing they represent is a very inexpensive way to milk  the 
catalogs of great artists:many of whom had tiny royalty rates.] 
 
all of which suggests high art and grand tradition are no longer as  esteemed 
as they once were. in our digitized fast moving information age world,  
apparently people now feel its okay to usurp anybody's art for their own  means.  
soon the floodgates will open and i shudder to think what may come  of it.
 
on the one hand pro tools and photoshop et al are wonderful tools. in the  
hands of a skilled craftsman they can facilitate wonderful things.  in the  
wrong hands they can falsify documents and revise history, or in a "Mouse That  
Roared" scenario invoke hysteria. 
 
perhaps today's political environment has allowed folks to believe nothing  
is sacred and anything goes if there's money to be made. [ouch: do i sound  
naive?] 
 
in the future, watch out for stunning discoveries ala the Monk and  Coltrane 
at Carnegie Hall.  but approach them with caution because very  soon the 
technology will be at the point where "historic" recordings or  collaborations that 
never existed are suddenly "unearthed".  [is that buddy  bolden i hear 
playing off in the disatnce?]
 
i'm just not sure that this is what was meant by the saying, "what was once  
old is new again," 
 
ricky schultz
 
 


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